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Natasha Hamilton On...Peter Pan

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Scouse pop singer Natasha Hamilton will be making her pantomime debut when she plays the title role in Peter Pan at the Liverpool Empire over Christmas and New Year.

The former Atomic Kitten member will be joined in the production by Henry Winkler, known to millions as The Fonz in American sitcom Happy Days, fellow Liverpudlian Les Dennis, and local radio DJ Rick Vaughn.

Peter Pan is produced by First Family Entertainment, the joint pantomime company formed by Ambassador Theatre Group, which runs the New Wimbledon Theatre and Live Nation.

Are you looking forward to taking on the Fonz?
I know - I’ve got to take the Fonz on! I’ll have a sword fight with him and take him on with my Lost Boys, but I can’t wait. I just feel so privileged to be working with such a big legend.

Why did you decide to choose this pantomime as your first?
Well, I was approached and it’s a story that I absolutely love. My youngest son, Harry, has got a Peter Pan mural on his bedroom wall but instead of Peter Pan flying over London he’s flying over Liverpool. And my eldest son, Josh, also loves Peter Pan. They both say to me, ‘mum, I can’t believe you’re going to be flying! It’s such a great role for me to play. I’ll literally be on a harness all the way through and will be flying but I’ve been told it’s very physical and to expect a lot of chafing off the harness. So, I thought, ‘that’s great, just what I want for Christmas!’ but I’m up for a challenge and I’m a bit tom boyish so I’m really looking forward to it.

Have you got a lot of family coming to see you in Peter Pan?
Everyone I know has phoned me to say can they come and watch me. But it’s brilliant because when I was a kid my mum used to bring me and my sister to the Liverpool Empire on Christmas Eve to watch a panto and then we would go home and put our Christmas stocking on the end of the bed and go to sleep and wait for Santa! It’s mad, because now I’m doing it with my kids but I’ll be on the stage. It’s just mad how the years have past and it’s not just me sat there in the audience, it’s me on stage now.

Are you prepared to work over the Christmas period?
It’s going to be a lot more of a gruelling schedule than I’m used to but it just means I’m going to have to be extra organised, so I’ll have to get all my Christmas shopping done in October! But then I’ll still get a day off a week and see the kids at night and the by the time I’ve got home I’ll be able to put them to bed, so I certainly have no reason to complain.

Are you scared yourself of growing old like Peter Pan?
I think I’m coming up to that age now where I’m going to start pretending to knock years off my age! But I’m a big kid at heart and I’ve got two little boys and I want a lot more kids. Well, a few more if possible and as long as you’re young at heart that’s all that matters.

Will you be singing in the production?
I’ll be singing, dancing and trying to act! The lot. I haven’t been told what songs I’m performing yet but I think the singing bit is the easiest bit for me!

Did you enjoy the experience of Come Dine With Me?
It was exhausting and nerve-racking. You don’t realise how much hard work goes into food. It’s like four nights in a row where you’re leaving the house at twelve and doing all the interviews and not getting in until midnight. It wasn’t just Liverpool either - it was based around the North West. So, it was hard work eating lovely food and drinking nice wine! It’s not been on TV yet. It’s either the end of September or start of October because they haven’t given us a date yet, and I won’t tell you what happened although it went well.

Do you have any more live music performances lined up?
I’ve got gigs lined up all the time and I can’t think right now which one I’ve got coming up but I am going to lunch with Prince Andrew after this interview. It’s part of The Outward Bound Trust and they’re opening a new activity centre in the Lake District and Prince Andrew is going to be opening it. I do a lot of work for Outward Bound, so I’m going to go up there. But I’ve met Prince Andrew before and we actually had a drink in Kazakhstan once before which was very random. Atomic Kitten just so happened to be in the same hotel as him when we were gigging in Kazakhstan.

When is your solo album with Ministry due to be released?
It was going to be November but it’s been put back to next year just because of lots of different stuff going on in the industry and wanting to get my production right so we’ve just put a hold to it until next year. So, I’ll get my panto out the way and then maybe spring time I’ll begin to look at releasing my first single.

Natasha Hamilton was speaking to Michael Hunt

Peter Pan opens at the Liverpool Empire theatre on 7 December and runs until 3 January 2010. Tickets cost £13.50-£26.

*Photograph taken by Dave Evans


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